Bibliotheca Wittockiana – built between 1981 and 1983 – was designed by architect Emmanuel de Callataÿ, who was commissioned by Michel Wittock to create a modern-day shrine to books. Somewhat uniquely, the resulting building, which won the Belgian Architecture Award in 1988, is partly sunk below ground level. Ivy now entwines its ribbed cast-concrete shell, enabling it to blend in seamlessly with its natural surroundings. Many artists were involved in the library’s creation: Émile Veranneman designed the furniture in the section for rare and antique books, its red lacquer reminiscent of the sumptuous morocco leather used in book bindings, while Jacqueline Guillermain and Denmark (the artistic name of Marc Robbroeckx) created a number of book-related contemporary artworks for the building. In 1996, another storey was added to the complex: a light metal-and-glass structure devised by architect Charly Wittock, the youngest son of the library’s founder. The library’s splendid collection numbers several thousand items, including a French Renaissance binding by Jean Picard and binding designs by Belgian artists like Henry Van de Velde, Berthe Van Regemonter and Jo Delahaut. Today, the building and its contents are owned by the King Baudouin Foundation, which ensures their long-term preservation. The institution organises exhibitions and meetings on the theme of books and also welcomes researchers or visitors wishing to learn about this heritage unmatched anywhere else in Belgium. The Bibliotheca Wittockiana is much more than a museum – it is a place for meeting, creation and exchange.
Guided tours: Sat. & Sun. at 10:00, 11:30, 13:30 and 15:00 (in French); 10:30, 12:00, 14:00 and 15:30 (in Dutch). In cooperation with E-Guides.
Exhibition: “Geneviève Asse – A window on the book”. The exhibition will showcase the work of Geneviève Asse in the world of books. A leading contemporary abstract artist, Geneviève Asse (born in 1923) has collaborated throughout her artistic career with authors, publishers and bookbinders. These meetings and friendships have resulted in the creation of dialogue books.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Rue du Bemel/Bemelstraat 23, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre/Sint-Pieters-Woluwe
By reservation only